When it comes to property rights, the law can be complicated. One area that has gained attention in recent years is squatters rights. In Ohio, the issue is no different. As we enter 2023, it’s important to understand what squatters rights are and how they may impact property owners.
What Are Squatters Rights?
Squatters rights, also known as adverse possession, is a legal concept that allows someone who is not the owner of a property to gain ownership after a certain period of time. In Ohio, the time period is 21 years. This means that if someone occupies a property for 21 years without the owner taking any action, they can claim ownership of the property.
Requirements for Squatters Rights in Ohio
In order to establish adverse possession in Ohio, the squatter must have actual possession of the property. This means that they must physically occupy the property and use it as if it were their own. Mere trespassing is not enough to establish adverse possession.
Open and Notorious Possession
The possession of the property must also be open and notorious. This means that the squatter’s possession must be obvious and apparent to anyone who visits the property. For example, if the squatter puts up a fence around the property or makes significant improvements, this may be enough to establish open and notorious possession.
The possession of the property must also be hostile. This means that the squatter must possess the property without the owner’s permission. If the owner gives permission for the squatter to occupy the property, adverse possession cannot be established.
The possession of the property must also be continuous. This means that the squatter must occupy the property for the entire 21-year period without interruption. If the squatter leaves the property for any period of time, the clock restarts.
Finally, the squatter must have exclusive possession of the property. This means that they must be the only ones occupying the property. If multiple squatters are occupying the property, adverse possession cannot be established.
What Can Property Owners Do?
As a property owner, it’s important to take action to prevent squatters from establishing adverse possession. This can include:
- Regularly inspecting the property to ensure no one is occupying it without permission
- Posting “No Trespassing” signs on the property
- Filing a police report if someone is trespassing on the property
- Filing a lawsuit to evict a squatter
While squatters rights can be a tricky legal issue, it’s important for property owners to take action to protect their property. By understanding the requirements for adverse possession in Ohio and taking proactive steps to prevent it, property owners can avoid the potential loss of their property to squatters.